| BANGKOK, Sept 2
BANGKOK, Sept 2 Thai prosecutors said on Monday
they will issue an arrest warrant for an heir of the Red Bull
energy drink creator who failed to show up to hear charges
against him in a fatal hit-and-run case that sparked nationwide
Vorayuth Yoovidhya, 28, is accused of being behind the wheel
of his Ferrari sports car when it collided with an on-duty
policeman in the early hours of Sept. 3, 2012.
"Investigators will issue an arrest warrant for the suspect
tomorrow and he can be arrested anywhere in Thailand," said
Reuchai Krairerk, a senior public prosecutor at the Bangkok
South Criminal Court.
Vorayuth faces charges of causing death through reckless
driving and failing to stop and assist the victim. An additional
charge for speeding was dropped as the legal time frame within
which to press the charge expires on Tuesday.
Vorayuth, nicknamed "Boss", left Thailand on Thursday for a
business trip, said his lawyer, and was unable to travel back to
hear the charges against him.
"He suddenly fell ill which made it impossible for him to
travel back today," said lawyer Tanit Buakeaw, adding that
Vorayuth planned to return to Thailand within three days and
would cooperate with prosecutors.
The Yoovidhyas, ranked Thailand's fourth-richest family in
2013 by Forbes magazine, paid the victim's family $97,000 after
the accident, police said.
The case prompted a backlash in online forums where people
questioned the justice system and its leniency towards those
with money and connections.
Some asked why Thais turn a blind eye to the practice of
handing out a so-called "funeral fee" or hush money in return
for families agreeing to drop civil suits.
Vorayuth is the grandson of the late Chaleo Yoovidhya, who
rose from poverty to become one of Thailand's richest men.
Chaleo formulated an energy drink called Krathing Daeng, or
Red Bull, that proved popular among labourers and in 1987 he
went into business with Austrian Dietrich Mateschitz who helped
turn Red Bull into the world's most popular energy drink.
Chaleo, who died in March 2012, left his heirs a 49 percent
stake in the drinks brand.
(Additional reporting by Aukkarapon Niyomyat; Editing by Nick